|A Short History of Bhagwan Swaminarayan|
Bhagwan Swaminarayan was born in Chhapiya near Ayoda in 1781. His childhood name was Ghanshyam. Ghanshyam's father Hariprasadji was tired of the harassment from evil-minded people and left Chhapiya and moved to Ayodhya.
Ghanshyam at the age 8 was given a sacred thread with a great ceremony. He started studying the Vedas and understood the essence of the scriptures. With his knowledge, at the age of 11 he spiritually enlightened his mother who was very ill and attained Akshardham, which is a spiritual heaven. Ghanshyam's father a few months later, with his sons spiritual knowledge with him, also attained Akshardham.
Ghanshyam felt deep detachment for all objects and left his relatives who he stayed with at the age of 11 from Ayoda after pretending to go to the river. From this day he was known as Neelkanth and he visited many shrines across India only wearing his loincloth, carry his staff, his diary and water holder. He only ate alms or fruit that had fallen.
When he walked to the Himalayas he didn’t have any food for 6 months and when he did he only had fruit, leaves and water. Neelkanth learnt a life time of yoga from Gopal Yogi in a record 9 months.
Neelkanth travelled 12000km to find the answer to his spiritual questions from Muktanand Swami. Ramanand Swami who arrived from his touring proclaimed Neelkanth as Sahajanand Swami and declared him as head of the group.
Shajanand Swami gave his followers the Swaminarayan mantra to chant and hence he was known as Swaminarayan.
Bhagwan Swaminarayan created three thousand Paramhansas who travelled through Gujarat to remove lawlessness, meat, drink and tobacco. He also made arrangements for women to worship in mandirs and liberate women to an exalted state.
For more info about Lord Swaminarayan, check out the picture book here
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